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The men in purple T-shirts, who had come through the Corrections Transition Program, were at the Florida Commission on Offender Review meeting to support a fellow parolee, Donald Freeman. Photo: Deirdra Funcheon

Part 3 of 3

By Deirdra Funcheon, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

BRADENTON, Fla. —While most Florida Commission on Offender Review decisions are made during hearings without the inmate present, parolees whose supervision terms are being reviewed sometimes do show up in person.

Five of the 33 cases being considered during a hearing on Oct. 9 related to inmates who were already out on parole. Parole in Florida  is considered an act of grace by the state, not a right. According to state rules, parolees are not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition, use drugs or alcohol, or even “enter any business establishment whose primary purpose is the sale/consumption of alcoholic beverages.”

Gray haired man sitting on bunk in prison cell

By Deirdra Funcheon, for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

MIAMI — An hour south of Miami, down the street from an alligator farm, a security guard buzzes visitors into the Homestead Correctional Institution. Each guest’s bags are run through a rickety metal detector and he or she is issued a panic button — a portable alarm that can be clipped to a waistband and pressed if an inmate attacks.

The visitation room looks like an elementary school cafeteria, its concrete-block walls painted with murals of Marvel superheroes and Minions. As soon as Marian Dolce slides into her plastic chair, flashing a warm smile, it’s obvious the panic button won’t be needed. She’s wearing light blue scrubs. Her white hair is in a jaunty ponytail atop her head. She says she just got a new “bunkie” — a cellmate. She comes off as downright girlish for a 66-year-old murderer.